To Scratch or Not to Scratch

Regal in her cat tree

We all know that cats are inclined to scratch. Sofas, carpets, curtains – it doesn’t really matter to the cat. But it matters to us. At times the destruction to our personal property and furnishings can make us think of how nice it would be to have a cat without claws. In fact, some cat owners elect to have their cat’s claws removed in a surgical procedure to stop the destruction. If you’re thinking of going this route, please consider exactly why you want the procedure performed and what will be gained.

Cat are born with their claws, just like we’re born with our fingernails; it’s natural for cats to use them for scratching, stretching, defending themselves, etc. A cat without claws is put at a disadvantage. How’d you like to go through life with no fingernails? It’s true that a cat with no claws won’t be tearing up your furniture, but they also won’t be going outside much, they may develop an aversion to using the litter box, and they may also tend to bite more to compensate for a lack of claws.

Instead of declawing your cat, consider some alternatives. Training is the best way to keep your cat from scratching up your possessions, but of course, this works best on young cats. Teach them to use the scratching post or board instead of the carpet while they’re still kittens. Adult cats can learn, too, but be prepared for a longer and harder road – best to teach them when they’re young.

You can also cap your cat’s claws with a soft plastic called “soft claws.” They glue on over the claw and need to be replaced about every four to six weeks. You can even get them in all the fancy colors the young cats are talking about these days! The point is, declawing your cat is a permanent solution, so be absolutely sure that it’s what’s best for your cat and not just what’s best for you.

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